If you have been following my blog, apparently there is more than 1 person reading, then you might have noticed I've not added a Japan travel update for awhile.
Since coming home we've been busy at work on some home improvements so my free time has been dominated by small renovations. One project still in progress is the rear garden where the palm tree used to be. We are digging out the straggly plants, wandering dew, spiky bushes and other weeds and digging down to create a new garden bed and using some of the sandstone rocks to create something that I hope will be inspired by our Japanese trip.
The project that we've just completed is our fireplace. As you can see from this photo taken at Christmas it was all white with a big empty cavern where the fireplace should have been. With yuletide tinsel and lights it looked nice enough and the folding fan fire screen I bought in France helped cover the empty space but it wasn't very warm and we couldn't snuggle up in front of a fire in winter.
So with the winter weather setting in we turned out attention to reviving the fireplace. First step was to get the chimney properly cleaned and to then install a jet master fire into the space. We then repainted the walls, the chimney block goes into the dining room and kitchen so we repainted the whole block and picked a colour that would suit the colour scheme of all three rooms. For the mantelpiece we thought it would be nice to strip off all the old white paint and layers of other assorted old paints beneath it to return to the natural wood. This was a painstakingly difficult little job to carefully pick it out of the carved details. With a final sanding polish we then stained the timber with a satin finish to complete the look.
Last weekend we were finally able to light the first fire in our fireplace and spend a cosy Sunday relaxing in warmth.